6. The Hateful Eight
Now Streaming on Netflix

The Hateful Eight isn’t a Christmas movie, idiot,” someone is saying right now. Maybe not on the surface, but Quentin Tarantino‘s extremely unpleasant yet ghoulishly funny chamber piece has all the trappings of being stuck with your family on Christmas Eve, dying to escape. There’s snow a’plenty, and there is one unforgettable sequence scored to a piano rendition of “Silent Night.” In other words: this is a Christmas movie. Hateful Eight strands a group of great actors –  Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern – in a snowy cabin, and then proceeds to brutally kill them off one by one. This film’s race relation-based issues are understandably nasty and off-putting to many, but Hateful Eight feels even more depressingly relevant here at the tail end of 2017 than it did when it hit theaters Christmas of 2015.

For fans of: Django UnchainedThe ThingClue, gallons and gallons of fake blood.

7. The Snowman
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

No, not the recent flop starring Michael Fassbender. This charming animated classic from 1982 is a dialogue-free adaptation of a children’s picture book by Raymond Briggs. The story concerns a boy who builds a snowman one winter’s night. The snowman proceeds to come to life, and take the boy on a charming, whimsical adventure that results in a cameo appearance from Santa Claus himself. This short film is just utterly lovely, blessed with enchanting animation. There’s more emotion in this brief, wordless film than most feature-length movies can muster. Best of all, it’s only 27 minutes long.

For fans of: A Charlie Brown Christmas, calm, peaceful, very nice things that just make you feel warm inside.

8. Bad Santa
Now Streaming on Hulu

This 2003 comedy from Ghost World director Terry Zwigoff is tailor-made to make you cringe, with Billy Bob Thornton going above and beyond to play the nastiest, crudest mall Santa in history. Thornton’s Santa gig is just a front to pull off a heist, but somewhere along the way his black-as-coal soul erodes ever-so-slightly for him to do the right thing. Sort of. Bad Santa actually had a bit of a troubled production. The Coen Brothers were involved with uncredited rewrites on the script, and they voiced several objections to how the film was being handled. Also involved were the now-disgraced Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who went behind Zwigoff’s back and had new scenes shot with a completely different director. The knowledge of these production woes make the final result a bit more remarkable, because there’s no clear sign of the film being a mess the way other troubled, muddled productions often turn out to be. This is primarily due to the performance of Thornton, who carries the whole film on his slumped shoulders.

For fans of: National Lampoon’s Christmas VacationElfScrooged, lots o’ cussin’.

9. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Now Streaming on FilmStruck and Amazon Prime Video

If you ever wanted to see Santa Claus naked, here is your chance! This weird, wild Finnish dark comedy from director Jalmari Helander tells the tale of a young boy who thinks he’s discovered the tomb of Santa Claus. But the Santa buried here is no benevolent, jolly toy man. Instead, he’s an evil, murderous monster. When Santa gets captured, his elves come calling to free him. This movie is weird, and it’s not going to be for everyone. But those who who can enjoy its strangeness will be rewarded with an entertaining, Amblin-esque horror-comedy full of some truly shocking moments. Just be warned: there’s a lot of Santa nudity here (for some reason).

For fans of: GremlinsTroll HunterBig Game, nude Santa (did I mention this movie has nude Santa? It does, and it’s weeeeeird).

10. Better Watch Out
Now Streaming on Shudder

Full disclosure: I actually hate this movie! Why am I including it on this list then? Because I have several smart colleagues who swear up and down that this film is in fact very good, so I’m willing to admit that maybe I’m wrong here, and maybe you’ll find something to love. To be clear: the set-up of Better Watch Out is clever enough: a love sick young boy decides to tell his teen babysitter that he has feelings for her on night near Christmas, before she moves away forever. Before he can express his love, however, a home invasion scenario begins to unfold. And that’s all I can tell you, because there’s a whopper of a twist in this film that’s either going to make you nod in appreciation or throw your remote at the TV and say, “Oh, screw this.” I was in the latter category. But you might think differently! I invite you to give this film a chance, and then come back and say, “Chris, you were right,” or, “Chris, you were wrong and now I am judging you harshly.” Happy Holidays!

For fans of: Don’t BreatheA Perfect GetawayHome Alone, big mid-film twists.

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